Mythology

How Eris’ Jealousy Started the Trojan War

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Trojan HorseThe Trojan War was a bloody battle between the Greeks and the city of Troy that lasted for 10 years. According to Greek mythology, the initial cause of the war was the Goddess Eris.

The goddess of discord, Eris was enraged when she wasn’t invited to the wedding of King Peleus and the sea nymph Thetis. The event was the talk of the town and nearly all the gods and goddesses were invited. When Eris found out that she wasn’t invited she decided that she needed to cause trouble in some way. Eris snuck into the wedding and threw a golden apple into the room. On the apple were the words, “To the Fairest”.

Of course more than one goddess believed she was the fairest, or the most beautiful. Hera was the first to reach for the apple. She was the extremely beautiful wife of Zeus. Athena also went after the apple, as did Aphrodite since she was, after all, the goddess of beauty. While they were fighting over the apple Zeus was called upon to decide who should receive the apple. However, Zeus was very wise and knew that he didn’t want to get in the middle of this argument. He handed the responsibility over to Paris, the Trojan prince.

With the responsibility in Paris’ hands, the goddesses started to offer him all types of bribes. Hera promised that he would rule Asia. Athena promised victory in battle. Aphrodite promised Helen, considered to be the most beautiful mortal in the world. Paris eagerly accepted the love of Helen from Aphrodite and gave Aphrodite the apple. Of course, this enraged Hera and Athena who became enemies of Paris and his city of Troy.

Aphrodite’s promise had a problem though. Helen was already married to King Menelaus. Paris didn’t seem to care and sailed across the Aegean Sea to Greece to kidnap her and take her as his wife. This obviously didn’t sit well with King Menelaus who declared war on Troy. His brother, Agamemnon, was appointed the leader of the army. He gathered one thousand ships and sailed to Troy to bring Helen back. The Trojans refused to give her back and the bloody 10-year war began.

The Trojans were protected by high stonewalls around the city and it was difficult for the Greeks to find a way in. The turning point came when Odysseus came up with a sneaky plan to get inside the Trojan walls. He had the Greeks build a large, hollow wooden horse where the Greek soldiers could hide. The Greek ships sailed away from Troy, signaling to the Trojans that the Greeks had given up and the war was finally over. The Trojans were tricked to believe that the wooden horse was a gift. A note left with the horse dedicated it to Athena. The Trojans pulled the horse inside their walls and celebrated.

It wasn’t until the people of Troy were asleep that Odysseus and the Greek army opened the gate for the Greek soldiers that hadn’t actually sailed away. They attacked the sleeping Trojans and the Trojans were quickly defeated. Helen was returned to King Menelaus and the Trojan War was over.

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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